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ERIC Number: EJ923709
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 47
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
What Can the Bohr-Sommerfeld Model Show Students of Chemistry in the 21st Century?
Niaz, Mansoor; Cardellini, Liberato
Journal of Chemical Education, v88 n2 p240-243 Feb 2011
Bohr's model of the atom is considered to be important by general chemistry textbooks. A shortcoming of this model was that it could not explain the spectra of atoms containing more than one electron. To increase the explanatory power of the model, Sommerfeld hypothesized the existence of elliptical orbits. This study aims to elaborate a framework based on history and philosophy of science and formulate suggestions for facilitating students' understanding of models in chemistry. Four educational implications emerged: (i) Sommerfeld's innovation introducing elliptical orbits helped to restore the viability of Bohr's model; (ii) Bohr-Sommerfeld's model went no further than the alkali metals, which led scientists to look for other models; (iii) scientific models are tentative in nature; and (iv) inclusion of the Bohr-Sommerfeld model in textbooks can help students understand how science progresses. (Contains 1 figure.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States